I have been an auto technician for almost 30 years. I am a Senior Master Technician, Hybrid Technician, and an SVT technician for Ford Motor Company. I have also taught automotive classes. So I know a little bit about what I am talking about when it comes to the piece on fraudulant auto First of all, I despise the term mechanic. Goober Pyle was a "mechanic on the Andy Griffith Show. That was fine in the 1960's. But today, mechanics work at WalMart and change oil. The cars we have now are rolling computer networks and it takes a actual technician, not a mechanic, to diagnose and repair them. So, get it right ABC.
Now, let's talk about the bug induced on the Escape, the blown fuse. Another network did a similar bug on a car involving a blown fuse, and that INFURIATED me! The absolute worst, stupidest way you can bug a car is to plant a blown fuse! A blown fuse is NOT a 50 cent fix! Fuses are there for a reason. They blow when there is an electrical short. They are there to prevent possible further damage if a short occurs. So odds are, a blown fuse means there is an electrical short that blew that fuse. And when a fuse is replaced and everything works, guess what? You have the mother of all problems. The single most time intensive and diagnostically invasive problem you can possibly have. You have an intermittant short!
The first guy who simply replaced the fuse and sent the car on it's way was setting up the driver for a potential catastrophy because the next time the short manifests itself and blows the fuse again could be right in the middle of a rain storm. I would bet the farm that the guy who replaced the fuse and sent the car out at no charge was NOT doing an act of charity. I would bet that it was an act of self preservation. I can guarantee that he knew exactly what sort of headache a blown fuse with no obvious "hard fault" short was going to likely lead to. He knew that in order to find that short, he would have the dash out, half the dash wiring unraveled, hours and hours of intensive labor involved, and still may not find his needle in a haystack. So, in that case, the best way to save himself is to stick a fuse in it and put no charge on the ticket so that the ticket can be voided, thus eliminating a paper trail. That way when the customer comes back with a blown fuse again, the shop can say, "sorry, we have no record of you, are you sure it was this Goodyear?" As far as that shop is concerned, that car never existed. That further demonstrates the level of absurdity of this whole 'blown fuse' scenario. If you want to catch crooks, you do NOT use a blown fuse to do it. STUPID!
The second guy who claimed he would do a wiring repair was a HUGE idiot! If he claimed to do ANY repair at all, then the same senerio occurs where the real short manifests itself and the wipers go out, he is in big trouble. I have no problem with busting the second guy, because he is an idiot.
But the biggest problem was the WHOLE SENARIO! A blown fuse is an absolutely STUPID way to bug a car.
In any of my many hands on factory training classes with Ford, Chrysler, and Mazda, if an instructor used a blown fuse to bug a car in his training class, and the manufacturer found out about it, he would be fired!
A blown fuse is NOT the problem! This expert that ABC used should know this. The only explanation I have is that she is unfamiliar with the S-S-C-C diagnostic process. Symptom, System, Cause, Correction. Why on EARTH would she use a blown fuse? A blown fuse is NOT a cause or correction in the S-S-C-C process. Since a blown fuse leads to another cause, which is a short, a blown fuse is actually part of the symptom stage of the diagnostic process, which leads to a system. The system is whatever electrical systems are connected to that fuse which could be several electrical components on the vehicle, not just the wiper motor system. So, if a technician finds a blown fuse on a system that is critical to occupant safety such as a wiper motor system and just replaces it without doing anything else, that guy should be fired!
The correct way to handle a situation where a blown fuse is found with no other obvious issue, then the technician and service adviser need to sit down with the customer and have a discussion about intermittent electrical shorts and what can happen in the future when it occurs again. the customer should then be given the option to either take the car as it is or authorize additional diagnostic time to attempt to locate the cause of the intermittent short. That is why the person who decided a blown fuse would be a good scenario has no idea what they are doing. That is a HORRIBLE bug to put on a car!
A much better senerio would have been to unseat the wiper motor or the wiper switch connector just enough to create an issue. That way the S-S-C-C ends right there at the loose connection. But if we are so in love with a fuse as a bug, then remove the fuse altogether. If you remove the fuse, then your S-S-C-C will go like this: Sympton-Wipers inop,found missing fuse. System-Wiper motor electrical system. Cause-Upon speaking with the customer, found that they borrowed fuse to replace blown cig lighter fuse when their radar detector blew the cig fuse. Correction- Replace fuse. The S-S-C-C ends right there at that point.